Has anyone been treated this way before?

Hi. Okay it's been a tough couple of days. I had my steroid injections in my knees today and it is sooooooo painful, but yesterday was far worse. I got on a bus from my town centre. It's about ten minutes journey from my house. I use a walking stick and a shopping trolley because my hands are really sore. The driver had parked at an angle so I wouldn't have been able to wheel my trolley on. I said to him politely "oh you've parked at a bit of an angle I'm going to struggle to get on." His response "and that's my problem because?" I ended up having to lift the trolley up which really hurt. I said to him "actually it is your problem because you are supposed to help passengers with disabilities it's the law." I asked him for his badge number but he refused to give it to me. And shouted at me to "move the other passengers have to get on."

I put my trolley into the wheelchair bay and sat down. There was one pushchair but it was in the pushchair bay. The bus started and I heard a woman a few seats behind me saying "she shouldn't have a trolley there. It's for pushchairs, she'll have to move. If another pushchair gets on I'll make her move." I was a bit upset and frightened but ignored her. Two stops later quite a few people got on and then a woman with another pushchair. The woman sat behind said loudly "now move, you have to move." I ignored her and explained to the woman that I have arthritis and couldn't fit my trolley anywhere else. She was okay with that and put her pushchair next to the first one. Both mothers were even able to sit down. But I could hear the woman behind constantly saying things like "how rude she should move." and "that's for pushchairs it's the pushchair space lazy cow." this went on for about 7 or 8 more stops. We got to the stop before mine and yet another woman got on with a pushchair. She got on and glared at me and said "you have to move." Again deep breath "I said "I can't. I have arthritis, it hurts my hands and other joints. I need to sit here." The woman behind me was practically having kittens "you lazy cow, move" etc

The woman with the pushchair didn't fold it she stayed in the aisle. We got to my stop and when the bus stopped I stood up. Then a woman walked past me and said to woman with pushchair no3 "oh I think Mrs Selfish wants to get off now." I was holding my walking stick, she could see I have disabilities. I said "I am not selfish I have arthritis and this is the wheelchair bay not the pushchair bay and I was here ages ago." I couldn't get my trolley off with pushchair no3 in the aisle so had to say "if you back up then I can get off and you can have the space then." She tutted and sighed and said "you shouldn't have been in the pushchair aisle." I was really upset now and the woman behind me was off again. I said loudly as the woman was backing up to let me off. "I am not selfish or lazy. I have arthritis. I was not sat in the pushchair bay I was sat in the wheelchair bay and as I have a disability I needed it more than you. Having a disability isn't a choice, having a child is. You could fold your pushchair up. I can't do that with my arthritis. And I was here first." She responded "having a child isn't a choice it's a privilege" Not sure what her point was on that one. But the bus left and I felt like I had been torn apart by a pack of wolves.

I felt like I shouldn't have been on the bus. Like I had no right to be there. But I did. And I was shouted at and called names and all I did was sit in a seat meant for disabled people and not move out of it when I couldn't.

Has anyone else been treated like this. I really hope not. Otherwise what was the Equality Act for?

47 Replies

  • That's a disability hate crime and reporting to the Police, some people are a disgrace to humanity. I would give anything to swap my ills for a week and then let's see the results. You do need to report the idiot driver to his bosses and if you don't know his number then give the rout and the time that got on the bus.

    I feel angry for you, I'm glad we are nothing like these scum.

    I hope you can rest and have a good nights sleep,


  • Well that is awful .

    The law is too, did you know that disability spaces legally can be given to pushchair users and if they refuse to move or fold up the pushchair, a wheelchair user can legally be told to get the next bus.

    This was challenged in court but yesterday the bus companies were allowed to keep this rule so there drivers can say I don't have enough space for you, and leave you at the bus stop.

    I know that wasn't your situation, they sound like a nasty load of folks.

    Disability is still a stigma to many people . The advert which shows disabled actors always being protested as the "evil villain "

    is a very good portrayal of how disability can often be seen.

    But sometimes the positive discrimination can make things harder too , if you feel you have to live up to the ,as channel 4 describe it , " superhumans?"

    People still don't get it , and I admit I didn't until it happened to me.

    I hope I'm not being upsetting tho and if this reply is pulled down , apologies.

  • Actually it isn't the law. It was challenged and a judge stated that you have no greater right to use a bus than anyone else. Nobody has to give up the disability space, although as a driver I do try to.

  • I think drivers are often in a very difficult situation. Since companies did away with conductors, drivers are now expected to drive the bus AND sort out any incidents. Usually that is fine, but if there is any problem, it becomes impossible to do both, and it must be very stressful. In this instance though, the driver actually made the situation WORSE, and was totally out of order in being rude and refusing to give his number - as I'm sure you'd agree, Jacqui!

  • Totally. Fortunately you don't need his number. Just tell the bus company where you got on, what bus service and where you got off and the time. I hope that it was Stagecoach, they record sound. The third pushchair should have never been allowed on and as to blocking the aisle, that is a definite no-no.

  • Thought that was what I said, 😂if the space is full you don't have any more right to use it do they can leave you to get the next bus? The driver might be nice and try to get people to shuffle but they don't have to .

  • Also if your wheelchair if u use one is a certain size ( numbers on citizens advice website) they can refuse u on the bus at all. And if your legs don't fold back and have to be extended that can be a problem. The law is very grey area and puts too much responsibility in drivers.

    I know this wasn't the case for you pinksugarmouse and I feel so upset for you . Do complain X

  • Sorry. Will read more carefully in future. BTW just showed the incident to a work colleague, who is as shocked as I am.

  • I'm not surprised , awful treatment xx

  • The issue here though was I was in the seat first! She expected me to move for her not the other way around. So even on a first come first served basis arguably in was not in the wrong. And there is a safety rule that most of our bus drivers ignore that any more than 2 pushchairs (wherever they are situated) they have to be folded.

    I didn't expect them to give up the disability space, they expected me to.

    And what the heck it had to do with the woman sat behind me I don't know,

    You sound like a decent bus driver, who doesn't speed off before people with walking sticks and small children can sit down. All I needed him to do was either park a bit closer and lower the bus or help me on with my trolley. To most people the trolley wouldn't have felt heavy.

  • I showed your post to a work colleague. You were definitely in the right. Make sure that you put your complaint in writing. Include the bus number and the time that you got on and where. The driver should know better.

  • Please do as Jacqui suggests Pinky, not only will the bus driver continue to act in this way but you, or someone else who's less abled, may come across him again. The woman needed to keep her beak out too, a reminder if one was needed that we're misunderstood with having an invisible disease. I just hope she never gets a disabling condition, she'd probably bite back though!

    I think you did very well not to lose your rag.

    Does NRAS do a badge I wonder, maybe if they do & we all wore one it would make people think before the speak if they saw it? I was glared at today in Aldi's car park when I parked in disabled even though she saw me struggle to get out & hobble when I got of the car so I just said yes my Blue Badge is current, I have RD. She said "What's that then?" I briefly explained & she was apologetic & actually said "I shouldn't have judged you but there are so many use them who don't need them". I suppose she's got a point so possibly best not to react or saying anything at all!

  • I agree having a child is a priviledge and a glorious advent. A disability is a curse and not a life choise...This post upset me....How dare people question you? You have every right to ride a bus. I'm so sorry you had to endure ignorant people... I had to google the word "pushchair" before I could give you any advice....A very good friend of mine is an awarded bus driver in city of Vancouver BC where I live...It is mandated by law that she assists the disabled and defuses any chaos on the bus. My advice to you is to call your transit authority and make a complaint about your bus driver. Your bus diver's job is to allow people to travel in peace and comfort.

    Take care


  • First off i am disgusted by the bus drivers attitude and yes report him to your bus company,telling them he wouldn't help you,he parked wrong and refuse to give his name or number. Also tell the bus company that the attitude of the passengers was so hostile that you are thinking of suing the company for discrimination thanks to the bus drivers attitude which gave the backing to the vile abuse you received from the passengers. Also report the incident to the police as it is discrimination. Also tell the bus company from now on you will get a taxi and tell the taxi driver to bill the bus company and see what happens. I am so bloody angry on your behalf i feel as if i am spitting bricks sitting her writing this response. Also you might want to contact your local radio and television companies as they will love to hi-light this sort of story as it is so vile to be un-acceptable in todays society. Lastly i am so sorry that that you have been put through this awful situation which was not of your making. If people had to spend a day in our shoes they would have a better understanding of how hard it is to be us as with ra it doesn't come alone darling does it. My best wishes to you and i hope you use the bus company again as i am sure all bus drivers are not like that man.xxxxxxxx

  • Sorry to hear your bad experience! perhaps if there is a next time (hopefully not) but take your phone and video tape them, that'll hush them up and will show proof how the bus driver was negligent and the rude passengers!

  • Hi there this is a disgrace report the bus driver and then report the incident to the police,this is another case of discrimination against disabled people, I would like to see how some of the ignorant joe public are towards disabled folk take care

  • This post really upset me and I was welling up reading it.

    You must report the driver to the bus bus company and also you could contact your local news paper,

    I hope you never have to experience this again!

    Also on another subject why are disabled parking spaces further away from the entrance than parent and child spaces at most large supermarkets?

  • It's strange isn't it? I don't qualify for a blue badge but if I was driven anywhere by car I would greatly benefit from using a wider space because I need to open the car door fully to get out. Lots of people who are not disabled enough to get a blue badge would benefit from wider spaces for for some reason only parents are given this privilege.

  • Where parent-and-child bays are closer than disabled parking bays, or when the disabled bays are full but the parent-and-child ones aren't, I have no hesitation in parking in them!

    When I had young children, I didn't drive, so had to walk much further than across the car-park - usually from a bus or train station - so I know the parent-and-child parking spaces are a convenience not a necessity. Without disabled parking spaces, however, I would not be able to shop now at all... Although the big superstores are so large that I can't manage them anyway - maybe that's why they don't provide good disabled parking...?

    You may be interested to know that there is no parking law relating to private car parks, and no offense is being committed if you park where you 'shouldn't' have. The only law that might apply, in some cases, is breach of contract - but the supermarket would have to show you had willingly entered into a contract with them and broken stated terms, and that's not straightforward, so at most they tend to just issue penalty notices and then do nothing if you don't pay...

  • It sounds like you've had an awful experience, I hope your ok. I had a bad day yesterday due to people's ignorance with disability. I had both my hips injected Monday night, so I was pretty sore going to work yesterday. I struggled during the day with my duties in agonising pain on my feet, finally it was time to go back to the office. I have a blue badge and manage to work part time just about. So I finally got back to the office to see yet again 4 cars in the disabled parking bays with no blue badges!! I had no choice but to park at the side of the loading bay (my manager has agreed this) and displayed my blue badge. If I did not park there I would have had to walk a long way to get to my office. This is an issue I have raised before to my manager, but it is still happening. So I parked and struggled on in to work. After being in work for 2 hours I got to my car to go home and found a vile note on it telling me amongst other things that I was blocking access. I was not blocking any access, as there is nothing to access, there's no through road and I parked on the grass next to the loading bay, so the loading bay could have still been used. Interestingly enough no little vile notes had been put on the cars parked in the disabled bays where I should have been able to park my car!!! So it really upset me last night and I ended up crying, to which my partner could not understand why it upset me so much. I think though we struggle a lot to keep our independence without having to deal with idiots who discriminate against us. My experience is not as bad as what you have been through. However I'm going to send another email to my manager today, and I really think you should report this incident to the bus company as it should not be happening to you or anyone with disabilities. I hope your ok, sending big hugs xx

  • Make contact with the bus company. Give the number of the bus and the time. The company should be able to find the bus driver. He should have been much more helpful and should have also have done something about the ill behaved other passengers. Do it in writing. The bus driver should go for special training!

  • Please contact the bus company and report the driver's discriminatory attitude not only in not enabling you to get on the bus without difficulty but equally for allowing other passengers on the bus to verbally abuse you. If we do not speak out for ourselves who will.

    Sadly this dreadful experience reflects some members of the public's attitude and understanding of arthritis and disability.

  • My bus issues tickets for passes. Did you get one? If so the driver's number will be on there.

  • Oh poor you! What a dreadful experience. I feel really angry, shocked and hurt on your behalf. Thankfully, I've never experienced anything like that, and hope. Never do.

    I endorse all the advice already given .

    Stay strong. Take care.


  • I agree what everyone else says and also wanted to add that you were very brave standing your ground. xx hug to you x

  • Oh pinksugarmouse, I am so sorry this has happened to you. It is abusive and awful. I hope that writing it down and hearing us all say how appalling it is has helped a bit.

    I haven't had an experience as bad as this myself, but I was harassed on the Tube in London for sitting in a disabled seat (I *look* well, but it was just 3 weeks before I had a hip replacement) and I haven't been on a bus in several years. I have a friend who is paraplegic and in an electric wheelchair, and she has had several unpleasant experiences on buses, and has been refused access because the disabled space has been occupied by an unfolded pushchair. In the worst of these incidents, it was raining, and she was trying to get home from work, and three buses passed her, then the fourth stopped because someone was getting off, and when she tried to get on and asked the driver to ask one of the two pushchair mummies to fold up their pushchairs, he refused, and then he, both of them, and another person started abusing her, saying things like "Who do you think you are?!" and "Why should WE move?" and "What makes you think you are more important than everyone else?!"... And they left her at the bus stop in the rain. :(

    She was of course extremely upset. She wrote to the bus company, who apologised, which is some consolation... But similar (though not so bad) things have happened since. She can't avoid using buses sometimes, but as you can imagine, it has become very stressful for her, even if nothing horrible actually happens... I can't get my head round attitudes like those pushchair mummies... How CAN anyone be so self-obsessed and unpleasant that they refuse to fold a pushchair so that a wheelchair-using disabled person can use the bus?!

    The law says disabled people have no *greater* right than non-disabled people to use buses, so no one has to give up a disabled space on a crowded bus. BUT allanah is right that that well-publicised case has caused a lot of confusion... And I do think this needs challenging to clarify what is acceptable in different circumstances... I would say that a disabled person's right to use a bus outweighs the right of someone to leave their pushchair unfolded, for instance... And people need to understand that even if they are within their rights to refuse to move, it is NOT acceptable to be verbally abusive too. I wonder if Philip is right that behaviour like this is disability hate crime? I would like to see someone test this legally... If this happens to anyone again, one option might be to talk to a Hate Incident Officer in the local police or council...

    I hope today is much, much nicer for you, pinksugarmouse :)

  • I am sorry to hear that you were harrassed, and the way your friend was treated beggars belief. Unfortunately I think parenthood turns some people into monsters who think the whole world should revolve around them.

    I can imagine how stressful it must be for her because you never know which journey's will be okay and which ones will have someone nasty on board (driver included).

  • Yes, exactly. It would be less stressful to stay at home, but she has a job to do and a life to live... And so do we!

  • We might not have a "Greater" right than any one else when using buses, but we do have the right to be treated with dignity and respect the same as every other traveller on the bus.

    Some Mummies with pushchairs scare the life out of me with their attitude of -- I have a baby in this buggy and I am coming through regardless of who or what are in the way.

  • Appalling and disgraceful behaviour all round. What upsets me more is the fact that there was not one sane person who spoke up for you. Thank you for sharing as it makes people like me realise that we are not the only ones.

  • I am disabled!

    It's taken me almost the year since I was diagnosed to be able to write that without shuddering!

    I still have difficulty saying it!

    We as disabled people have enough to deal with without the vile diatribe you described pinksugarmouse!

    My heart goes out to you and I really do hope you report this to anyone who'll listen as advised above.

    Some of us have wheelchairs, some sticks, some nothing at all but we all have a level of disability and I doubt many of us would choose this life or the difficulties that come with it

    I'm a 30+ yr old woman I look well but am not, I currently have a throat and ear infection and still look 'ok'

    I'm sick of ppl watching me with daggers or asking me if I'm in the right place when I use the disabled facilities, it's not fair and we shouldn't have to explain ourselves to anyone!

    Stay Strong xxx

  • How awful - did know one stick up for you ?? At times like you have experienced I feel ashamed to be human Take care xx

  • I have emailed to the bus company, but they are not very good at dealing with complaints. Still they will have to attempt some sort of reply because I have mentioned disability discrimination. I have given them details of the route, time and a description of the driver. Luckily he is quite conspicuous so it would be hard to get him confused with other drivers.

    Until it's dealt with I am not going to travel on this route alone again. Some of the other routes aren't too bad. The drivers are polite and wait for everyone to sit down. Unfortunately it's the route with the worst drivers that I need to use most often.

  • What can I say that hasn't already been said... I am disgusted and disappointed that our fellow citizens have behaved in such a selfish and degrading (for themselves) way towards you :(


  • That was so awful, you should definitely report the driver. It shows how selfish people can become if they think they are better than you. That lady (and I use that reservidly) wanted to make you cry, so she could boast to her friends.

    Sorry I am so livid. Big hugs.

  • Hi. Read this and just didn't know what to say. It's awful and I had a similar problem on a plane

    Do you live in London? TFL have given priority to wheelchair uses. If there are pushchairs, the bus driver can ask (and I've seen it) the pushchair owner to move. The space is for the disabled then pushchair owners.

    Having said this, not everyone understands but TFL are doing something about hidden illnesses. They are looking at introducing badges (like baby on board badge) for us (hurray).

    Here is a post which as lead to this blog.scope.org.uk/2014/09/0...

    Let's hope it's soon. Keep going on buses, shouting loudly and standing your ground. Don't let the buggers or this disease get the better of you

    Ranjana xxx

  • What disgusting behaviour! You poor thing! Wish I.d have been on your bus! Report the driver & HE should have put them despicable women in their place! Bless you. X

  • Wow, what a really horrible and frightening situation to be in, especially when that woman started name calling, being super aggressive and bullying, I don't see any need for that, more so as the same comments from her could have been said without the nastiness. I am so sorry you had to go through such a scary ordeal.

    I do have a question along the lines of disability bays though, if anyone knows, or knows where I can find out.

    My surgeon/ hospital is based near me for clinic and xrays, luckily the bus is almost always been empty, but my first issue on that particular bus is that there is an area about 4 foot high people can put shopping in, I can't lift my trolley that high even if t were empty, but there is no area designated for wheelchair users or people with disabilities, I wouldn't have thought that was legal,, I thought they all had to have specific areas?

    My main query though, while clinic & x-rays are nearby, rheumatology, surgery and mri's are two taxis and a train away. On the train there is a bay with a blue round wheelchair sticker. Do trains only provide seating areas for wheelchairs? There are seats close by, but no grab rail.

    My trolley won't fit anywhere, and it's very painful and difficult for me to get into the normal seats.

    I end up sitting on the flip down chair by the door using just my trolley and stick for support so I don't fall off, I then have to keep getting out of everyone's way. Are all trans like this? Or is it just that "short trips only" train I have to catch? It's a nightmare of a journey and like the main poster, I've had a few mean comments as people pass me getting on or off. It's getting to the point it's hard to use any transport without difficulty..

  • I don't know much about travelling on trains, I don't use them very often. I would call the company and explain your difficulties and ask them how they can help. If they aren't very helpful then try a letter.

    Failing this I think you might have to have a chat with the hospital and explain that there isn't any way you can get to your appointments safely and ask if they know of any help offered to paitents with transport. We have a company called dial a ride. They offer transport for people with disabilities. You have to contact them a week ahead for hospital appointments and they do collect and drop off other people along the way. I haven't used the service but elderly clients whom I have supported in the past have used it.

  • Thank you so much for the train advice, I'll definitely try that. As for dial a ride, I will look I to it. I haven't seen any of their vehicles where I live, and thought they were for elderly and chair users only.

    I will look into it though as the train trips which are getting more frequent that I applied for my disability rail card are albeit a 20 minute trip, a nightmare.

    I appreciate your help, thank you :)

  • Last summer while my husband was recovering from a hip op I had to get to a lot of hospital appointments and used the hospital transport. It's a bit inconvenient in that you have to fit in with their schedule, but it was a lifeline for me.

    On the original post, I'm horrified. The problem is that this kind of stress is cumulative. And why should people undermine your attemp to stay autonomous?

  • What a dreadful experience you had!! It's beyond belief how ignorant some people are!

    I catch buses, I used to get on near my house but, no matter where I stood one particular driver shouted at me for standing in the wrong place?!? So now I walk into the village to the next stop, I have to set off earlier as, I have a walking stick & of course it's further to walk!

  • That is just not on Jane. The driver has no comprehension what saying that has meant! He's made you walk further for being so nasty, that is not right. If it was me I'd start using the bus stop nearest your home again & if that bus driver happens to be driving & says that again I'd do one of two things.... ask him very nicely to kindly show you exactly where you need to stand or report him. Dictatorial jobsworth.

  • Poor you. I am so glad you stood your ground. Please continue to do so. I have only recently been able to use the bus to work ( I am a therapist and can work a few hours as my job is sedentary) ; it stops quite near where I work otherwise I could not manage the walk. I am slim- partly because the weight fell off me when I first became ill and I do try to eat a really healthy diet because I am trying so hard to get well again and am a fairly young looking 52 and people sometimes say "you look so healthy" but I have severe inflammatory arthritis and anaemia. If I knock my wrist or knees or ankles the pain is excruciating I swell up and I get very tired and am wiped out the next day if I work a full day. Anyway, I notice that I get strange looks when I sit in the disabled seats on the bus but I am terrified of someone bumping into my very painful wrist or knees and possibly knocking me over ( my knees don't bend properly and God knows how much it would hurt or how I would get up) . It is not until I walk that I think people can see I am disabled but I am waiting for the day when I have to justify why I sit where I do . It is often older people who seem the most hostile. Be firm with people and realise that if other people are unkind it says so much about them not you. Take care of yourself and continue to firmly stand your ground. I really think that people who do not have arthritis or do not live with someone who has arthritis have no idea how hard it is. A dear friend who lives some way away from me but we have spent a few days together since I have been ill was speaking to me about how when we get to our age we lose muscle strength and she noticed that she found it harder to move furniture and I had to say it is only recently that although I am right handed that I could pick up a cup of tea and put it to my mouth with my right hand and that I used to hate taking a shower because I could not bear to look at the muscle wastage in my right arm. I just use my left hand and people are unaware of what I am doing I guess. Apologies if this sounds all about me. I empathise very much and your message reminded me of the fear I felt on the bus the other day as this older woman was badgering me and saying that her arthritis was worse than mine and in the end I just gave in but she also softened when she saw me walk. Lots of solidarity and empathy to you.

  • Why do people come out with such silly comments? "you look well" is quite possibly the worst. There are literally hundreds of conditions whereby a person could "look well" but actually be very ill and Arthritis is just one of them. Think Cancer, ME, Asthma, Epilepsy, Diabetes, HIV, these are just a handful. People think illness means being sick, pale, fever, shivers, spots.

  • It's so true, unless we walk around with a stick or badge flashing from out head nobody gives an inch in being understanding. It does test our patience, but at least on this site, one gets to vent and get support. Stay positive, you are amongst friends.

  • Guys I just thought I would update you. I am still waiting for a proper response from the bus company. I have been assured that someone will get back to me 'shortly' after Easter. I am not sure how long shortly is, but I replied and said that if I haven't had a full response within a week I will be seeking legal advice. And you know what I will. I know the chances of anything coming of it are slim but even if I can get some media publicity to highlight the difficulties for people with disabilities and the lack of public understanding then that's got to be a bonus. I don't want to sue them, I don't want their money. I want a better bus service. But if they keep ignoring me I will have to take them to court.

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